I got in last night from up north expecting to have the weekend off. Instead I’m due at a mine in the Goldfields tomorrow morning, and will in all likelihood spend the rest of the week working in Kalgoorlie. Such is trucking.
Since my post about Miles Franklin’s (lack of) schooling I have been preparing a post about the education of women in my own extended family. It’s not quite ready yet but I have a couple of points I wish to share in the interim.
Firstly, one of the puzzles of Miles Franklin’s poor schooling is why did Franklin’s mother not approach her own mother for assistance in sending the young Stella away to school? Even if only to make her more marriageable. Now I’ve come across information in a recent Crikey which makes the situation even less understandable –
“When the Public Instruction Act was passed in NSW in 1880 it provided for eight publicly funded high schools: four for boys and four for girls. They were built in Sydney, Maitland, Bathurst and Goulburn to prepare students for higher education at the University of Sydney, Australia’s first university.” Alex Mitchell, School’s Out: is Abbott winding back Public Education?, 24 June 2015
So, given that MF was of high school age in the early 1890s, if there was a high school in Goulburn, where she already went for singing lessons, why didn’t she attend it? Don’t worry, I don’t expect an answer (and anyway I should probably have delved back into Jill Roe first).
Which brings me to number two, and this time you are all expected to achieve at least a pass mark. My (maternal) grandfather’s mother was a Moore, from Maldon in Victoria where she went to school, with her 14 siblings, in the 1890s. My (late) father did some research for a Moore family history, The Hammer and the Anvil by Jo Ellen and came up with a schoolbook for 1902, belonging to Emma Moore, aged 16, with the following homework tasks:
Arithmetic: How many hours a day must 42 boys work, to do in 45 days what 27 men can do in 28 days of 10 hours, the work of a boy being half that of a man?
History: What happened in 1603?
Rules: Where two nouns standing in apposition are in the possessive case the s and ‘ are used. The verb to be takes …
Health: What is the mesentery?, Describe the thoracic duct. What is the chyle? Name four flesh-forming foods. What is the use of the inter-costal muscles? Where are the villi?
English: Explain two parts of the sentence, Ye are brothers/And make submission meet to our King.
Essay: Write an essay on The Egyptian War of 1882-85 (2 pages).